Political Animal


October 11, 2012 8:53 AM Debate Prep

By Ed Kilgore

I’m sure Team Obama is aware of the heightened stakes for tonight’s vice presidential debate given the interminable hype and spin associated with the first presidential debate, which could harden into public perceptions of the two tickets with any additional encouragement. And you have to figure they understand the strategic importance of throwing some cold water on the “Moderate Mitt” illusion that Romney worked so hard to create in Denver, wildly counterfactual as it might be to those who have been following his career and his path to the GOP nomination.

So here’s some debate prep help for Joe Biden from an older Democratic gentleman who knew a few things about Republicans, and whose policy legacy is the Great White Whale that Biden’s opponent lives and breathes to slay.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • J on October 11, 2012 8:59 AM:

    Anybody hear of the dumb Issa committee that were trying to help Romney by blaming Obama for the death of the ambassador. Well the repubs are dumber than we know, they have just had a real lapse of security by putting a secret CIA base on C-SPAN.

  • T2 on October 11, 2012 9:02 AM:

    two debate questions:
    Tonites VP - if Biden isn't seen as a clear winner, will Romney/Ryan go to the top of all the polls and stay there? Will the Women who apparently fell under the spell of Handsome Mitt do the same for Wonderboy Ryan?

    Next week's Presidential - will a strong performance by Obama, a "winner", reverse Romney's poll gains or simply stay the same? Will the Women who were overwhelmingly on Obama's side and jumped ship to vote for a guy who will disband Planned Parenthood, work to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and generally oppose anything for women go back to the guy who actually supports them?

  • T2 on October 11, 2012 9:11 AM:

    just thought of a third question:
    Will a couple innocent "gaffes" by Joe Biden be discussed way more than a steady string of lies and misrepresentations by Ryan?

  • David in NY on October 11, 2012 9:21 AM:

    That's a wonderful clip of FDR. The French have a word for it (if it's permissible to know French these days), plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  • Anonymous on October 11, 2012 9:25 AM:

    Here is a fourth thought, will the pollsters change their likely voter screen after this debate or after the next Obama debate.

    Boys and girls, we have been conned. After the last debate Gallup installed a likely voter screen and Pew adjusted theirs. The people who pay for the polls need for us to think there is a tight race. I don't think last weeks debate changed the underlying fundamentals in anyway and I refuse to believe in an 18 point swing among women voters.

    We, all of us, Conservatives and Liberals alike, are being snowed by the networks and newspapers.

  • kevmor on October 11, 2012 9:28 AM:

    There's a lot from FDR in '36 that the Dems could take, almost word for word, now. His acceptance speech at the Convention was a barn burner. Some choice bits:

    "In the place of the palace of privilege we seek to build a temple out of faith and hope and charity.

    "It is a sobering thing, my friends, to be a servant of this great cause. We try in our daily work to remember that the cause belongs not to us, but to the people. The standard is not in the hands of you and me alone. It is carried by America. We seek daily to profit from experience, to learn to do better as our task proceeds.

    "Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales.

    "Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."

  • c u n d gulag on October 11, 2012 9:42 AM:

    I saw this great clip last night on The Daily Show.

    The problems are, that, unlike FDR, Obama doesn't welcome their hatred (from a different speech) - he tries to work with them.

    And Obama's a black man and a Democrat.

    This would be the original "Whitey Tape," except FDR was not exactly a civil rights lion.
    There were reasons that household employees and rail road workers weren't included in the original SS - they were the occupations that had the most black employees.

  • docdave on October 11, 2012 9:44 AM:

    Just about the best daybreak video yet. "Plus ca change, etc." indeed.

  • Varecia on October 11, 2012 9:44 AM:

    Early voting started here this week, and I have to wonder how many other states have begun early voting as well?
    The Obama campaign has been working on this campaign every day since APRIL. Either we've sealed the deal with people by now or we haven't, and I don't think the debates will have the kind of impact--positive or negative--that people are imaging.

  • Anonymous on October 11, 2012 9:48 AM:

    "Debate Prep"

    Let's hope there actually was some for this one.

    I imagine the last debate prep going something like this.

    Prep team 30 min before Denver: " Remember, you're job is to look Presidential. Let Romney talk as much as he wants because he'll likely stick his foot in his mouth. And DON'T stick your foot in your mouth. Think before you speak! We got this election in the bag so long as there are no gaffes. And whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstance use the "L" word. We're confident the mainstream media will do its job in pointing out Mitt's non-factual statements so you won't have to."

  • skeptonomist on October 11, 2012 10:18 AM:

    There is no reason to think that either the "moderate Mitt" or the "severely conservative Mitt" represents reality. Unless the Tea Party somehow becomes much more powerful (hard to do that without big-money backing), a President Mitt would most likely be a standard modern Republican; cut taxes for the rich, but no major cuts to SS or Medicare (that would cost votes); pay lip service to social conservative objectives, but don't really push, except for Supreme-Court nominees (they could be socially conservative, since overturning Roe v Wade would be their decision, not the President's; they would certainly be pro-big-business), etc. etc.

  • bdop4 on October 11, 2012 10:23 AM:

    The Democrats should run that clip and at the end, fade in one line:

    "Same as it Ever Was"

    You would have to get permission from Talking Heads' David Byrne, but I think he would go for it.

  • jpeckjr on October 11, 2012 11:10 AM:

    I'd vote for this guy. Four times, if I had the chance.

  • TCinLA on October 11, 2012 1:13 PM:

    Good proof of why my great-grand-uncle, who at the time FDR was giving that speech was working for Senator Truman, always said "the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies." They have ALWAYS been scum.